The Jupiter String Quartet and the Jasper String Quartet perform Felix Mendelssohn’s famous String Octet in E-flat Major (Op. 20, composed 1825).
Catalog: MAR 613
There were string octets written before Mendelssohn’s, but none with such wonderful interplay and balance among the parts. Instead of treating the two quartets as separate entities, Mendelssohn weaves deft and subtle conversations among the eight musicians.
The octet leads the audience on a brilliant journey, opening with the virtuosic drama of the first movement. This boldness melts into the luminous beauty of the slow second movement, before the music livens again in the fantastically delicate scherzo. The closing movement, kick-started by the dramatic entry of the second cello and knocked quickly around the group, is filled with cascades of notes whirling from one player to another. The overall effect is one of absolute elation.
Dan Visconti’s hauntingly beautiful "Eternal Breath" has the unique instrumentation: three cellos, three violins, one viola, and a drone reed instrument.
Osvaldo Golijov’s striking "Last Round" (1996) is a tribute to the great Argentinian composer and musician, Astor Piazzola. The quartets are joined here by bassist Michael Cameron, who provides an anchoring depth. The nonet is in two parts, the first filled with a frenetic and crackling energy. The second section of the piece slips into an entirely different world, full of reflection and slow, suspended lyricism.
Felix Mendelssohn: Octet in E-flat Major, Op. 20
1 I Allegro moderato ma con fuoco
2 II Andante
3 III Scherzo: Allegro leggierissimo
4 IV Presto
5 Dan Visconti: Eternal Breath
Osvaldo Golijov: Last Round
6 I Last Round: Movido, urgente
7 II Muertes del Angel
Total playing time: 54:46